Donald Trump

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Sounding very much like a declared candidate for the Presidency, Donald Trump gave a rambling rehash of his positions on various issues to a small but supportive crowd today at the Nashua, New Hampshire, Chamber of Commerce.

Most of his remarks covered familiar territory: the Obama birth certificate issue (now dead), OPEC’s insensitivity, China’s intransigence, and Colombia’s abuses. He remains persuaded that his power of negotiation will be more than sufficient to save America which, he says, is “falling off a cliff. ” He never clarified which cliff, nor did he provide any clear understanding of why the country was headed off one.

He made an interesting point about Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” that was released more than a month ago and has been subsequently attacked unrelentingly by the White House, Senate Democrats, and the mainstream media. Trump said Ryan’s plan was “fine, but he played his hand too early. In negotiating, you always want to let the other guy make the opening bid. Then you can take the offensive by countering his bid. ” Ryan gave away a substantial advantage, Trump averred, by showing his plan to restructure and Social Security first, allowing the other side to attack those positions.

In foreign affairs, Trump continued to insist that Iraq has “our oil” and that we should go get it to repay our costs of the . He passed off concerns many have expressed about violating ’s national sovereignty, noting that he is “old-fashioned” and thinks that when someone owes you something, you have the intrinsic right to collect it, by force, if necessary. He added, “We don’t want their country—just their oil. ”

He confirmed his lack of economic understanding, reiterating his position that was “ripping us off” to the tune of $300 billion of “profit” every year, due to their manipulation of their , which makes their goods look cheap to Americans. Again, he would resolve that issue through his superior negotiating skills. Calling himself an “outsider,” nevertheless he said he would call on his friends on Wall Street to help with those negotiations, saying that he knows “who the best negotiators are” and would use them if necessary in dealing with the Chinese.

He said he would use the foreign aid the U.S. currently provides Pakistan, some $3.2 billion a year, according to Trump, as leverage to get them to stop developing nuclear weapons. He would simply withhold all foreign aid until they complied. “They need that money badly,” Trump said, and Pakistan would accede to his demands immediately.

He neatly avoided anything of substance about his political philosophy or his much anticipated announcement to run for the Presidency. National sovereignty was mentioned just once, and in a pejorative sense when he referred to Iraq. He failed to give his audience any clue as to what would inform his discretion on weighty matters such as following the Constitution, removing government impediments to job creation, raising taxes, or cutting entitlement .

Even during the brief question and answer session, Trump failed to be specific, using the questions merely as jumping off points to expand his position on various issues. It’s no wonder that his poll numbers are dropping, as (according to Rasmussen):

Most voters seem to think The Donald is mostly a media creation and isn’t a serious contender for the presidency. They also increasingly don’t like him.

Nothing he said in Nashua today is likely to change the direction of his polls or his popularity.

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